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That's Sport
  The Elevate Me Team 09:33 AM

One of our Ambassadors from last year, Rachael McIntosh, just finished her university track career with another medal in the pentathlon. That’s three medals in three years. Very impressive. She wrote this blog just after completing her last track meet as a Calgary Dinosaur. Her journey is one of the reasons that sports are so helpful in building character. Rachael’s university career may not have ended as she had hoped, but after reading what she took away from it, she won. Big time.

Posted on March 7, 2014

In sport, sometimes you’re lucky enough to win, and sometimes you’re lucky enough not to.

I have been fortunate enough in the past to taste gold, but yesterday I ended my CIS career with a silver medal, and to my surprise it tasted just as sweet.

After hearing the final scores of the competition, a friend said to me “That’s sport.” Those words released any last bit of tension, pain and emotion left from my 6 hour day. That’s sport. How incredibly true. One would be naïve to think that once you’re on top you will always remain on top. Sport does not work that way, and to my surprise I dealt with this realization very well yesterday. I always knew my spot could be taken, but as a fierce competitor I didn’t believe that it would actually happen.

In so many ways I am glad it did.

I sat on the bench taking off my shoes as everyone headed home from the track for the day, and a tear streamed down my cheek as I looked at my silver medal and felt overwhelmed with pride in knowing I battled my ass off to have it placed around my neck. I don’t think I can remember having a moment like this before. I would never discount the value of a medal of any color, and I think everyone who competes in sport deserves a medal for being so courageous, but when I take this silver medal home and place it next to my two gold medals, there will be a very distinct difference in what they represent beyond placing.

Sport has taught me how to have the courage to accept failure, and learn from my mistakes. How to understand your weaknesses are just areas for growth, and that nothing is accomplished on your own.
In the book I’m reading called Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains one of the most helpful things I’ve learned yet: “We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us… I want to experience your vulnerability but I don’t want to be Vulnerable. Vulnerability is courage in you, and inadequacy in me.”

I will probably reference this book in every blog post I write from here on. It has been the key to opening doors that have been locked all my life, and to building new doors and opportunities I know never existed before I read it. By understanding that vulnerability is courage and not weakness, I’ve been able to find a whole new appreciation for who I am and what I do. When we see someone step on stage to give a presentation we admire their courage to be up there, but as soon as we step up to give our speech or our presentation we are overwhelmed with fear of judgment and failure. I realized that as I admire everyone who stands up in front of me to perform, when I’m doing the same and daring greatly, I now know that people are seeing the beauty in my courage and vulnerability too.
What I want to do, is give everyone who might think I am disappointed in my performances yesterday, or maybe has their own opinion about what I did yesterday, this short message:

Who I am today as an athlete and a person is ten strides ahead of who I was last year when I stepped on that podium and got the gold around my neck. I’ve decided to live a wholehearted life full of worthiness and to sink into moments like today when my pride and strength are being tested, and be proud I did what I could. I will never stop chasing the top spot on the podium, but thanks to Brené I will be smiling more and worrying less, collecting these special moments and ‘suffering’ less, and most importantly Daring Greatly and enjoy living my dreams!
I’ve always said “The journey is the reward” and my journey of ups and downs is certainly proving to have rewards around every corner.

I am very grateful for the group of girls I train with. Yesterday we said to one another “We need each other, to beat each other.” I train alongside some of my strongest and toughest competitors each and every day, and that’s a real blessing.

Rachaelmcintosh.com

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